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Science Junction: Amphibian Conservation in the Southeast
Oct 10 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT
October 10th, 2023
7pm – 9pm
Location: Georgia Public Broadcasting, 260 14th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
Amphibians in the Southeast – An update on the most vulnerable species
25 years ago, scientists began documenting what is now described as a catastrophic decline in global amphibian populations. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 43% of the world’s amphibians are in decline or already extinct. The Atlanta-based Amphibian Foundation (AF) formed in urgency in 2016 to attempt to immediately reverse this decline for a specific salamander in the Southeastern US — the Frosted Flatwoods Salamander, Ambystoma cingulatum. ‘Frosties’ have decreased in population by 90% since 1999.
In 2016, AF was provided with the only federal permit to work with this species, and began the task of working with a cryptic species that was both poorly understood and critically endangered. Since starting that project in 2016, several Southeastern state agencies have connected with AF to develop programs to directly conserve more species of imperiled amphibians.
After 7 years, how are these species doing now? What have we learned? How can you help amphibians? Amphibian Foundation Co-founder and Executive Director, Mark Mandica, will discuss the current status of some of the Southeast’s most imperiled amphibians, what is being done to address these declines, and how you can help protect amphibians at home and everywhere.
Speaker: Mark Mandica, Executive Director, Amphibian Foundation
Mark Mandica is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Amphibian Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and conservation of amphibians. His work puts him on the front line in the efforts to conserve declining native and tropical amphibians. He received his B.S. from UMass where his thesis focused on the ephemeral wetland ecology of amphibians. He then went on to the American Museum of Natural History in NY where he worked as a Curatorial Assistant before moving to South Florida for graduate school at U Miami. Mark’s M.Sc. explored the amphibian community ecology in the Everglades as well as photoreception related activity patterns in South Florida bufonids.
Mark is also a professional scientific illustrator and is published in textbooks as well as the journals Science, Nature, Journal of Experimental Biology, Zoology, American Zoologist and many others.
Before founding the Amphibian Foundation in 2016, he managed the amphibian conservation program at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Mark has now dedicated the majority of his time towards conservation efforts aimed at reversing amphibian declines in the southeast US and abroad, and teaching amphibian biology, ecology and conservation at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA.